Tag Archives: copywriting

Writing content for a Mass Control Bait digital asset

Writing content for Mass Control Bait digital assets

Writing content for Mass Control Bait digital assets.

Digital marketers often talk about Mass Control Bait. What is it?

Although the phrase “Mass Control Bait” sounds quite ominous, it is simply an offering that you make to people so that they share their email ID with you.

Many websites entice you to download that awesome e-book or white paper but before you do that, you need to fill and submit an online form with your company details, contact information, designation, and profession.

They are gathering data from you and in return, they allow you to download something that you think may be useful for you. In return, they ask for permission to subscribe you to their email updates or send your routine marketing messages.

What are different types of Mass Control Bait digital assets?

Mass Control Bait can be anything you can offer for which people will gladly provide you their contact details.

As mentioned above, it can be an e-book or a white paper carrying useful information or industry data.

It can be a poll result that can reveal crucial market trends or user behavior traits.

It can be a webinar or a workshop recording that was previously exclusively available to paid members, but you are offering it to all those people who subscribe to your mailing list.

It can be an auto responder course. I remember a few years ago I used to offer an auto responder course in SEO content writing to all those people who subscribed to my newsletter.

How to write effective content for your Mass Control Bait digital assets?

First of all, create a digital asset people would desperately want to download.

Your piece of content must have the ability to make a real difference in people’s life otherwise, they will not download it.

In the past couple of years, I have written multiple e-books, case studies, and white papers for Mass Control Bait campaigns.

In most of the cases clients come up with their own content ideas and unless they are paying me, I do not interfere much except for doing my best writing for the topic.

Two things are very important for creating effective Mass Control Bait digital assets:

  • The topic (so that they give you their email ids).
  • The quality and relevance of the content (so that they remain your subscribers).

Some people think that they can create a very attractive and irresistible and once people have submitted their email ids, they should not bother much about the quality of the actual content. Wrong approach.

Do not consider Mass Control Bait digital assets as an actual “bait” to collect email ids. You do not want to spam people. You want to build relationships.

Offering them to download a Mass Control Bait digital asset is like giving them a gift to agreeing to keep in touch with you.

If you give them lousy content, they will make it a point to not only unsubscribe themselves as fast as possible, but also make sure that all email messages from you go to their spam folder. Much deserved.

Take your Mass Control Bait digital assets seriously. They represent your brand.

When people read your business e-book or white paper or a report, they are forming an impression of you even when they do not realize it.

For example, if I ask you to download an e-book from my website, the sort of experience that you have with the e-book will reflect on the attitude you have towards me or my content writing services.

Hence, writing content for your Mass Control Bait digital assets should be taken as seriously as you take the content writing of your main website.

Content writing advice: In the beginning it is important to associate your name with what you do or offer

Yesterday I was explaining this concept to one of my clients. He had sent me links to websites like Accenture and Bains and said that he wanted to emulate their writing style and terminology.

These websites have good content and copy. But they use lots of fluff and jargon. They can do that. They are known brands. Even if they indulge in abstract content writing, people know what these companies do.

When you are a new business, it is very important that your message is unambiguous.

For example, I can throw around big and impressing words on my website, but by the end of the day, I am providing content writing services, or copywriting services for marketing purposes. These terms are important for me. These terms are also important for clients looking to hire a content writer or a copywriter.

Once you have built a brand for yourself, once people know what you do (you do not need to tell what Google does), you can be creative with your language, but for the time being, when you are a new business, use exactly the words and expressions that convey what you do and what you deliver.

How to get quality content written on a tight budget?

How to get quality content written on a tight budget

How to get quality content written on a tight budget.

Many clients approach me with a tight budget. Even yesterday someone called me who wanted content for a single page website. When I told him how much I would charge, he was taken aback. To be frank, even I was taken aback at the way he was taken aback. After all, I needed to charge for the time I was going to spend writing his content. I hadn’t even quoted a very high rate.

When people think of getting content written for their websites, they think in terms of long-term writing requirements. Something like, “If I’m paying this much for one web page, over a period how much am I going to have to pay for 25 pages?”

This is a valid question. Everyone needs to plan. One must know what is the cost of writing content for the complete website and then plan accordingly.

The written content on your website is one of your biggest assets, or in fact, THE biggest asset. Does your website have a meaning without the text? Are you going to have empty boxes? Or are you going to fill those boxes with content full of spelling and grammar mistakes or uninspiring sentences and paragraphs? Don’t you want to motivate your visitors into becoming your customers and clients? It is the written text that is going to achieve that for you.

Although I believe in most of the cases clients talk about having a budget constraint simply because they don’t want to pay enough to a content writer (the only service they want to save the maximum on), some cases a genuine. How do you get quality content written for your website if you don’t have enough budget? You can do the following…

Get content written for a selected few pages

Some pages are important, for example your homepage, the services page and the about us page. These pages are business getters. Although other pages matter too, these are the pages that must look professionally written. If you don’t have enough money to pay for content for all the pages, just get your content written for a selected few pages.

Get the content written incrementally

There is no need to get the entire thing done in one go. You can get your content written incrementally. In the beginning, get the barebones content. Have enough content that your visitors get the needed information, and you can launch the website. It is far better than launching a website with inferior or unprofessional content. Then, next month, you can pay some more money to your content writer to expand upon the existing content.

Repurpose existing content

If you already have some content on your blog or website, perhaps you can consider repurposing it.  For example, if I wanted to repurpose some content from this blog post, I could write a quick blog post on “How to write quality content incrementally”. This way your content writer won’t have to spend lots of time searching for new ideas and he or she can simply build upon your existing content, costing you less in the process.

Write the content yourself and then get it revised by a professional content writer

This may seem daunting, but if you really want to save some money, prepare the draft yourself. A content writer spends a lot of time preparing the first draft because most of the clients don’t give enough information pertaining to their businesses. Since you yourself will be writing the content, you will be sharing the information first-hand. Then, afterwards, your content writer can make it look professional.

Go for shorter blog posts

Thin content – blog posts and web pages less than 400 words – is often discouraged by Google, but there is no hard and fast rule. My philosophy in this regard is, having some content is better than having no content. There is no need to publish blog posts that are more than 1000 words. Just publish something around 300-400 words. The idea is to convey to Google that you are constantly updating your blog and the Google crawler should crawl and index the updated content from your website. I myself publish small blog posts when I don’t have enough time to work on comprehensive content pieces.

This may not help you improve your SEO compared to other businesses that are publishing bigger blog posts, at least the Google crawler will start crawling your website with greater frequency and once you can afford to publish bigger blog posts, they will be crawled and indexed faster.

There are many websites with less content. Although most of the business owners want as much content as possible to improve their search engine rankings and cover all the necessary keywords, your customers and clients don’t know that. So, even if you have less content, they may think that it is just your approach or design need. But make sure that whatever content you have, it is professionally written, looks well, and communicates to your visitors convincingly. That’s what that matters the most.

 

What do I deliver through my content writing services?

What do I deliver with my content writing services?

What do I deliver with my content writing services?

I have been telling my clients increasingly that when they are paying me, they’re not paying for the words and sentences that I write. They are paying for the value that I deliver.

I’m gradually shifting away from the messaging that conveys that I deliver content writing services. Of course, I write content and hence, I deliver content writing services, it isn’t just the writing that are offered. Through my writing, my clients benefit because

  • Their search engine rankings improve.
  • The quality of their interaction and engagement elevates.
  • They communicate their proposition clearly.
  • They establish themselves as an authority.
  • People stay longer on their websites and blogs.
  • They generate more leads.
  • Their business grows.

One may say that these are standard benefits that are assumed delivered when someone writes content, and I agree.

Every content writer must talk in these terms. Every website thrives on the shoulders of its content. Without content, a website has no meaning. Just imagine, you go on a website, and you find just images and graphics. Will you do business with such a website?

Or say, there is written text on the website, but it is uninspiring. It uses staid language. There are grammar mistakes. There is no flow consistency. The inherent narrative is missing. Most of the time the readers leave midway, forget about doing business.

Quality content writing is invaluable. Everyone, including content writers and people who hire them, need to understand that without written content, without content that convinces and converts, the website holds no meaning.

13 copywriting rules I use when writing copy for my clients

My copywriting rules when I'm writing copy for my clients

My copywriting rules when I’m writing copy for my clients.

The copywriting rules listed in this blog post help my clients generate more leads and get more business. What are these rules? Or what are these copywriting laws? Read on.

Copywriting is a tricky undertaking. When I’m talking to my new clients, I always tell them that you cannot immediately get results from a landing page or an email marketing campaign.

You may not find these copywriting rules on other blogs not because they are unique, but because I implement them and hence, talk about them, in my own unique way.

Do I follow all these rules or laws? Not at all. In the end I will explain why. In fact, I used to believe that as long as you write well, there is no need to follow any particular copywriting laws.

Customer behavior is quite scientific these days. Ample amount of research is available that reveals to you what works and what doesn’t when you are writing copy. There are even certain words and expressions that, although mean the same, have different impact on your copy and through your copy, on your customers and clients.

4-5 landing pages or email marketing campaigns are needed before we can find out what works and what doesn’t.

No matter how experienced a copywriter is, experimentation is needed. A problem with freelance copywriters is that when a client approaches, she wants to know exactly how much a particular piece of writing is going to cost and how much is going to be delivered. Hence, there isn’t much scope to try out various rules or laws, especially when you want to evolve using your own copywriting techniques.

A copy is not about the number of words. It is about making an impact.

Due to this faulty, and yet inescapable approach, there is very little scope for experimentation, analytics, and learning.

Most of the clients move on after the first campaign. Some have access to analytics, and some don’t. They see that not much business was generated, and they think that may be there is something wrong in the copy.

I’m gradually shifting away from that model – quoting for the number of words – and instead, I focus on the result and quote accordingly, sometimes not even telling the client why I’m charging what I’m charging. Though, that’s a different topic.

First, here is a quick list of the copywriting rules that I try to stick to as much as possible:

  1. Thoroughly understand the product or the service.
  2. Get a clear idea of whom you’re writing for.
  3. Use the language of the audience.
  4. Spend ample amount of time on the main headline.
  5. Avoid using big words and jargon.
  6. Use simpler sentences – mostly one thought in one sentence.
  7. Use call-to-action strategically.
  8. Create a sense of urgency (but don’t overdo it).
  9. Use positive language instead of negative.
  10. Focus more on benefits and less on features.
  11. Leverage storytelling.
  12. Stick to the point.
  13. Be your customer’s advocate.

Although results cannot be guaranteed with every campaign, there are some fundamental copywriting rules that can be followed when writing copy. Every audience is unique. Every set of customers and clients is unique. Nonetheless, certain steps that you take when writing copy always leave a positive impact.

Below I’m listing some rules that I follow when writing copy for my clients.

1. Understand the product or the service as clearly as possible

David Ogilvy in his book “Ogilvy on Advertising” says that before beginning to work on a copy, he did so much research that he would know more than the business owner. Of course, most of the clients don’t have that much budget, but whatever you can learn about the product or the service, try to learn it.

How can you write about something you don’t know of? Knowing about a product or service doesn’t just mean knowing what it does. It means how a product or a service helps customers and clients.

This is always my primary focus. What would draw people to this particular product or service? What overwhelming problem does the product or the service solve?

2. Define the target audience

In the content writing parlance, it is also called “defining the persona”.

Although I don’t psychoanalyze the audience such that it takes me hours to understand the people – obviously the client isn’t paying that much – I try to gather as much information as possible.

3. Adapt my writing to the language of the audience

What kind of language does the audience prefer? What language does the audience use when talking about similar products and services? You don’t want to alienate people by using a language that they don’t use.

Someone recently suggested that if you want to learn what type of language people use when talking about the product or the service that you are writing copy for (similar) visit other e-commerce websites and read the reviews and comments left by their users.

For example, if you’re describing the features of a mobile phone, visit a website like Amazon.com and go through various mobile phone listings, especially the reviews section.

4. Brainstorm on the main headline

I’m again going to quote David Ogilvy, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Some professional copywriters claim that out of the entire time, they spend 50% of the time on defining the headline. Sometimes they experiment with multiple headlines.

Although I won’t say that I spend 50% of my time coming up with the headline, I take my headline seriously. The headline must capture the essence of what is being written in the copy. The person who reads the headline should be immediately able to understand what the copy is about.

I make sure that the headline doesn’t confuse the reader. It must be straightforward. It must represent the biggest benefit or address the biggest problem.

But at the same time, I don’t believe in hyperbolic headlines. I try to create as realistic headlines as I can.

5. Avoid “big words”

By big words I mean, use “get” instead of “obtain” or “best” instead of “superior” or “help” instead of “facilitate”, and so on.

This also makes it easier to use conversational tone which makes your readers comfortable.

Of course, being a writer sometimes I get in the flow and use the words I shouldn’t be using but this normally happens in the first draft. By the time I’m through with revisions, I get rid of lengthier words if shorter versions are available.

6. Use simple sentences

This needs to be strategic. Too many simple sentences can sound like monosyllables or uninspiring. But, whenever I can, I express just one idea in one sentence and avoid using compound or complex sentences.

It makes it easier for the reader to read and understand what you are writing. In compound or complex sentences, one needs to process multiple thoughts at the same time, and this may end up confusing or distracting the reader.

7. Use call-to-action strategically

CTA or call-to-action is a big part of copywriting. The entire copy revolves around your CTA. The aim of your copy is to make the reader perform an action. This can be buying something, or replying, or downloading a brochure or giving a call, or registering for a workshop.

You can use call-to-action multiple times within the copy. It isn’t necessary that call to action must be used at the end. Whenever you express something compelling and you feel that the reader may be motivated to perform an action, you can insert a call-to-action.

But don’t overdo it; this makes you sound desperate.

8. Create a sense of urgency

I don’t believe in creating a sense of urgency just for the heck of it. I want to build trust among my readers. I create a sense of urgency when there is actual need.

For example, a client is organizing a workshop next week and he is making an offer to the first 25 attendees who register within the next two days.

In such cases, I use something like “This offer expires in two days and there is a mad scramble!”

9. Use positive prompts

It is something like instead of “Don’t spend your day in pain”, I write “Spend a painless day”. Another example would be, instead of “Don’t miss the opportunity”, I write “Grab the opportunity”.

10. Highlight benefits instead of features

I know, this is clichéd advice but even after coming across this advice for more than 273 times, I still see many copywriters getting obsessed with the features of a product or a service.

So, instead of giving more stress on the fact that your mobile phone has more than 300 GB of storage space, tell your prospective buyers that they can store 10,000 videos.

Instead of saying that your jeans is stretchable, you can tell your buyers that the same jeans can be worn by people of different sizes.

I’m not saying avoid features altogether. Features are important. I mean, 300 GB of storage space does sound appealing to a tech savvy person like me. Hence, don’t skip this part, but also don’t skip the part that the phone can save 10,000 videos.

11. Use storytelling

People relate to stories better. You have a great SaaS product with awesome features, but if you talk about some John who couldn’t afford expensive hardware and software and how he was able to grow his business using your SaaS product through a cheap, second-hand laptop, it can make a great impact.

12. Stick to the point

I don’t use fluff. I don’t beat around the bush. Of course, when you’re telling a story you need to build a narrative, but keep your audience focused. Even small distractions can make your readers lose track and go somewhere else.

13. Be the champion of the customer

I write copy as if I’m talking on behalf of my customers and clients. How are they going to benefit from the product or service I’m writing about? How is it going to change their lives?

Honestly, sometimes I feel insincere because how can I champion the cause of the customers for whom I’m writing, if I myself haven’t been using that product or service? I’m not an evangelist who has been using this product or service for years and have benefited immensely.

Take for example construction materials: these days I’m writing a series of marketing emails for a company that supplies construction materials and equipment to construction companies. I don’t have a construction company. I don’t use construction material. Still, I’m trying to convince those construction companies that they are going to get the best deal on the best materials from the company I’m writing about.

Well, this is something I need to reconcile with quite often.

Do I follow or implement all the copywriting rules I have mentioned above? Not necessarily. I pick and choose. Sometimes I use even random copywriting rules that I may have not listed above. I prefer to go with the flow. But these rules combine into a basic structure that keeps me on the right path. Even if you follow 50% of these rules, you are good to go.